ALA WO State Telecommunications Policy Workshop

Thursday, June 21, 2007
9:00 – 4:00pm
Washington Convention Center, Room 147 A/B

I’m liveblogging this session over on my blog, so far I’ve heard:

Mark Lloyd, Center for American Progress

Mark was speaking about the necessity of urban library support for the rural libraries provisions in this year’s Farm Bill. Please say to your Senators and Representatives: “Please support the rural library provisions in this year’s Farm Bill.”

Gloria Tristani, Spiegel & McDiarmid (former FCC Commissioner)

Gloria spoke about the importance of sufficient bandwidth for public libraries, wherever they are. She spoke about ALA WO efforts to simplify the E-rate for libraries, modify “poverty calculations” to bring libraries into parity with school districts and respond to “Notices of Inquiry” from the FCC. Sometimes FCC comment periods may say they are “closed,” if you have a comment you should send it in anyway (up until a decision is made). Grassroots advocacy and grassroots comments count with the FCC when they come in significant numbers.

While we are all here in DC, if we are interested in FCC-related stuff, we should take the opportunity to drop in on the FCC Commissioners — we are competing with many other players and a massive drop by of interested parties. Take the time to have a few relevant statistics about library connectivity to hand and encourage the FCC. Wisconsin specific data here for example.

Broadband deployment models that work

Bob Bocher Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
Steven Hedges OPLIN
William Giddings MOREnet
Andrew McNeill Connect Kentucky

BadgerNet: state gov’t, K-20, libraries, tribes, telcos.
INFOhio, OSCnet, OhioLink, MORE: OPLIN also provides “postalized” pricing, same anywhere. All 3 agencies are now working together as Libraries Connect Ohio.
MOREnet started in 1986, REAL started in 1994, now 131 libraries with 107 branches.
Governor, State library, Dept of Ed, Dept of Higher Ed, U Missouri One network to rule them all (wait, no, There can be only one) in Missouri.

MOREnet: Connection depends on tax revenues for service area — you get the connection speeds you need (smaller libraries pay ~$300/year, largest pays ~$12,000 per year) no questions asked.
BadgerNet: costs are “postalized” same cost anywhere — benefits rurals *big time* T-1=~$100/month, higher=~$250/month. Centralized purchase of access and divvied internally.
Dept of Higehr Ed, Sec of State via State Library, participant fees, E-rate reimbursements.

Video distance Ed, 24/7/365 Tech Support. Statewide VoIP soon, internet via WiSCnet, shared ILS in ~90% of WI libraries for resource sharing etc.

Success because:
strong state network office, strong legislative and executive support, governor support, collaboraive environment (inclusive), state-wide funding of connections.

Policy issues about funding of bandwidth for gaming may crop up if legislators ask about what kinds of traffic are being funded. WAN circuts insufficient, State USF has had 6 years of no growth, Web 2.0 interactions loading network, working to improve funding, general sys admin stuff (security, spam, remote mgmt, etc)
growing demand for bandwidth, term limits, site visits

Then a Q&A session to wrap up.